The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Agency Says Company Denied Leasing Consultant Promotion Because of Pregnancy

LOS ANGELES – Sentinel Real Estate Corp. violated federal law by denying a promotion to an employee because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Ellie Burnaugh, a leasing consultant at Sentinel’s Town Center Apartments in Valencia, Calif., sought a promotion to the assistant manager position. However, Sentinel denied her the promotion based on her pregnancy due to its perception of the uncertainty of her return from pregnancy leave. As a result, Sentinel hired another applicant, who was not pregnant, for the assistant manager position. Sentinel’s decision not to promote Burnaugh deprived her of equal employment opportunities given to others not affected by pregnancy, the EEOC asserted.

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. CV09 06949 in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC will seek compensatory damages and punitive damages for Burnaugh and other injunctive relief.

EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Park said, “An employer violates Title VII if the decision not to promote an employee is based on pregnancy considerations. We hope this lawsuit reminds employers to provide equal employment opportunities in making employment decisions."

New York-based Sentinel Real Estate Corporation employs over 1,100 people and provides real estate investment management services to institutional and qualified private investors in the United States and abroad.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

This page was last modified on September 24, 2009.

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